Remembered Columns

Things that survive displacement and re-creation, Heaney seems to be saying, may confidently be regarded as true. The poet’s writerly anxiety is to do with alphabet and by extension language – he imagines a film-like animation in which written characters fly away – his delivery and reassurance derive from a Catholic legend in which something similar is said to have happened with a felicitous outcome. The components of language with which hitherto Heaney has felt secure (solid letters of the world) were suddenly unsteady (grew airy). The sturdy architecture of written letters (marble serifs … clearly blocked uprights) that this seasoned wordsmith has underpinned (built upon rocks) and elevated (set upon the heights) suddenly took to the air (rose). A […]